The Flash’s slowest yet best episode of the season
This week’s episode of The Flash was its slowest — literally. Taking place over the course of 8 minutes and 50 seconds, Barry (Grant Gustin) enlists the help of his fellow speedsters Jesse Quick (Violett Beane) and Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) to deactivate a bomb that could blow Central City to bits. Since the bomb is already activated, our beloved speedsters had to “Enter Flashtime” by moving so fast that everyone else was frozen. This week took a step back from introducing a metahuman to defeat, instead focusing on a problem that everyone had to work together to solve. Because of this, “Enter Flashtime” snagged the title as the best episode of the season (so far).
RELATED | The Flash 4×14 Roundtable “Subject 9”
Each character was able to shine on their own, as Barry pulled each member of Team Flash into Flashtime to figure out how to deactivate the bomb. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) had the idea to breach the bomb into a dead Earth, but the plan didn’t work as his breaches shorted. Barry then pulled in Harry (Tom Cavanagh) who suggested the biggest sacrifice of all: throwing the bomb into the Speed Force. Jay quickly shut down the idea, as the bomb could destroy the speed force forever and strip away the speed of all speedsters. Jay also mentioned that the destruction of the speed force could have unforeseen damages to the multiverse.
Realizing that he can’t save the day this time, Barry had his own thoughtful goodbyes with everyone while they were frozen. Barry headed to S.T.A.R Labs to have his own goodbye with Iris (Candice Patton) and pulled her into Flashtime. Their conversation consisted of tears, laughs and Barry finally coining her as his ‘lightning rod.’ Essentially saving the day, Iris provided the solution that we waited for the entire episode.
Here to discuss bombs, lightning, and more is our The Flash roundtable!
Tatiana (@myrcellasear) – Entertainment journalism wannabe and avid pursuer of comics.
Cami (@tarcamwat) – Love sci-fiction, superheroes, strong female characters and sensitive male characters.
Alexis (@alexiswaverider) – Hope we are less screwed in 2018.
Shaddae (@icandyiris) – Iris West-Allen enthusiast.
Tay (@candicekps) – High School Senior, Iris West superfan, and TV show enthusiast.
1. What an insane episode! So many things happened. What was your favorite moment?
Tatiana (@myrcellasear): Had to be the moment when Barry told Iris he couldn’t save them. The sheer emotion from both Gustin and Patton was powerful to watch, and you really felt like these could be Westallen’s last moments together. Plus, he finally called Iris his lightning rod! We’ve had plenty of angsty scenes between these two over the last four years, but this one just raised the bar. Honorable mention, though, goes to Harry and Jesse’s final scene together. It was really lovely to see him finally open up to his daughter, even if he had to use the cerebral inhibitor to do it.
Cami (@tarcamwat): My favorite moment of the episode was the little talk that Barry and Iris had after Barry was unsuccessful jumping through Cisco’s breach. It finally gave us some insights into their lives outside of the Flash stuff. They really are each other’s best friends. It was a bit bittersweet though. It’s pretty obvious that they adore each other, but haven’t had much time for romance or sexy time. The audience is equally starved.
Alexis (@alexiswaverider): Definitely the Barry and Iris scene in Flashtime. When Barry pulled Iris in, everything about that scene was emotional and powerful. From Barry being worn down, hopeless, and resting his shoulders on the one person in the world that could ground him and give him clarity. He finally explicitly called her his lightning rod which is accurate. The fact that Iris came up with solution to save the day made Iris the MVP this episode. Ultimately, that scene signifies that Barry and Iris are the core of what The Flash is all about.
Shaddae (@icandyiris): I think you mean moment(s) because the episode from beginning to end was so good. The scene in S.T.A.R. Labs where Barry put Iris in Flashtime was definitely a standout — the emotions evoked in that scene were phenomenal. Candice and Grant never cease to amaze me. I literally had to gather myself after watching.The ending scene where Barry was laying in the bed also stood out because of how organic and natural it was. That’s the most comfortable I’ve seen them and more of that intimacy is what they need.
Tay (@candicekps): Literally every Barry and Iris moment! To be more specific, I’ll narrow my absolute favorite moment to the scene of Barry finally calling Iris his “lightning rod.” The emotions within that scene shook me to my core. I almost felt like I was intruding since their chemistry is so intense.
2. Jay mentioned he was training a female superhero. Any idea who that superhero could be?
Tatiana: My first thought was that it was Jessica Parker Kennedy’s character, just because they emphasized that it was a girl. But that may be a little confusing with the hopping between Earths, plus it couldn’t be permanent if she is who we think she is. There are quite a few more female speedsters from the comics who Jay could train, though: Iris II West, Avery Ho, Meena Dhawan, Doralla Kon, etc. It depends on how obscure they wanna go (or else this might be an OC we never see), but I’d love to see Avery on another Earth.
Cami: I really think it could be anyone and I’m not even sure the producers and/or writers even know yet. I would like it to be Avery Ho. A new Chinese superheroine that has been recently added to the Flash canon.
Alexis: My first thought was Dawn Allen. But there’s a possibility of it being other female speedsters like Jenni, Iris, or Meena. I’ve seen a few speculations about it being Earth 3 Iris which, in my opinion, will be fantastic as it increases the chances that we’ll venture into that multiverse sooner than later. They didn’t spend all this money on making Iris’ speedster costume just for it to be a one-off.
Shaddae: Jay has never mentioned anything about his family life so I’m not ruling out the possibility of a child and his daughter could be the one taking up this mantle.
Tay: My theory is that Jay is talking about Dawn Allen. That theory simply makes the most sense.
3. Barry was willing to sacrifice his “home” in the Speed Force to save Central City. Did you think that was a good idea?
Tatiana: I’m sure it would have had unintended consequences like Jay and Jesse both suggested, but I did love that Barry was willing to do it and that he values the people in Central City (not just the ones he loves, whom he could’ve evacuated in time) enough to give up the Speed Force for them. Plus, I liked that his mind went to getting rid of the evil speedsters as well.
Cami: These things are really difficult to know one way or the other. Harry wasn’t sure. Jay wasn’t sure. Can a selfless decision be ultimately a selfish one? Would he be sacrificing people he doesn’t know for people that he does know and feels obligated to protect, i.e. the citizens of Central City? People with power make these types of decisions all of the time. I would have been cool with Barry risking the Speed Force. It was interesting though that getting rid of Reverse Flash is never far from his mind.
Alexis: The selfish part of me, if I were in Barry’s shoes, I would completely understand the need to do everything you can to save the people you love the most. He was willing to sacrifice his ‘home” in the Speed Force because ultimately what matters is his “home” here in the real world, i.e Iris. But overall, it may not be the best idea because yes, Central City will be saved but at what cost. Losing the Speed Force forever would mean losing all the speedsters worldwide and in all the multiverses and I’d like to think that the good those speedsters will do in the future outweighs the need to save just one city.
Shaddae: A lot of lives were at stake and options were running slim so I don’t blame him.
Tay: Looking at his sacrifice through a heroic lens, I do believe that was a good idea.
4. Sadly Jay is retiring! Do you think that was the right choice for him or were you hoping to see the Crimson Comet in action for just a little bit longer?
Tatiana: As long as we still get to see the character and John Wesley Shipp is allowed to return, I don’t mind Jay retiring. The man’s had a long run, and he was obviously more than ready to rest last season. Give him a break!
Cami: Jay has served his time. If he wants to run off into the sunset I’m more than happy for him. Besides I know he’ll be around to mentor the younger speedsters throughout the universe.
Alexis: I was hoping to see him more in action and as a mentor for Barry. Sadly the show can’t seem to write for more than one speedster at a time, which is partly the reason why Wally was shipped off to Legends.
Shaddae: All good things must come to an end. He left a legacy and now it’s time to pass up the torch. He doesn’t have to necessarily contribute to the show with his speed but the knowledge he has gained over the years.
Tay: I was hoping to see the Crimson Comet in action a lot more! It makes sense that he is retiring as he is a lot older. I do hope that Jay can pop up occasionally despite his retirement.
5. Iris West-Allen saves the day! When Barry called her his ‘lightning rod,’ do you believe that he states it only in the metaphorical sense, or is there a physical aspect to it?
Tatiana: I love when Iris proves she’s worth her salt as a leader, not to mention how she grounds Barry as a wife. I think there is a physical aspect to her being his lightning rod, though, seeing as she’s been the cause of many of his new power activations. And now it seems like Flashtime doesn’t wear her down like it does the others. I’m glad the words were finally spoken aloud, and I’m hopeful that the concept will be explored further in the future.
Cami: What a beautiful moment! Iris is a closer. She knows how to work well under pressurized situations. Anyway, I think Barry meant it only in a metaphorical sense, but the show has revealed to us that it goes beyond that. Iris is always around when Barry discovers or activates his new powers, so there is definitely a physical aspect to the whole thing. They are best friends and soulmates connected through space and time. And isn’t the Speed Force the interdimensional manifestation of space and time?
Alexis: I think that it’s both metaphorically and physically. The show has been consistent about one thing since the pilot, which is that Iris is the one thing that grounds and anchors Barry. She physically jump-started his Flash abilities in the pilot and has continued to do so ever since. Need I remind anyone of the Runaway Dinosaur. Iris herself now understands this concept and what she is to Barry, outside of being his wife and best friend. This is why she sacrificed herself during the season four opener because she knew it was the one thing that would anchor Barry as he entered reality. Like Barry said this episode, Iris is his clarity and is the reason why there can’t be a Flash without Iris West-Allen.
Shaddae: I do believe that there is a physical aspect to it. Iris keeps him going, he’s the weakest and most vulnerable around her and I love that as most men are afraid to show that side. Iris could’ve panicked in that scene but instead, she maintained her composure and was able to think of a plan to save the entire city. In essence, I think that’s what a lightning rod is — someone who puts you back together no matter how much you’re falling apart.
Tay: BOTH. She “picks him up and keeps him going” in every sense of the word. I believe that she keeps him level-headed and calms him in the face of conflict. In addition to that, I also firmly believe that she unleashes powers within Barry that may not have been initially possible.
6. Did you expect Harry to open up about his wife this week? And did this help you understand Jesse’s earlier actions?
Tatiana: Mama Wells is the last character I expected would be mentioned, but boy am I glad she was. It’s always been obvious that there is a missing link between these two, and she was clearly it. I wish we had learned her name, but I’ll settle for learning how Harry and Jesse felt about her passing and will continue to assume she was Earth-2’s version of Tess from season one. And I can now imagine Jesse getting fed up with her dad’s aggressive method of mourning and sending him away when he won’t get help.
Cami: I did expect him to finally open up and I loved that he used his tech invention in order to do so. Some of us are not able to verbally express our feeling so this was the perfect solution for Harry. I hope he and Jesse can really grow from this newfound understanding.
Alexis: I expected Harry to have some emotional journey this episode because Jesse was stopping by but I wasn’t expecting it to be about his wife. Even without this new piece of information, I understood Jesse’s actions with respect to kicking him off her team. Harry can be overbearing and quite frankly annoying.
Shaddae: I didn’t expect that but it was a cute moment nonetheless. It did help to understand where she was coming from.
Tay: I certainly did not expect Harry to open up about his wife this week! I was glad that he did as it seemed that he was bottling up a lot of built-up emotions. I feel like he got his closure by talking to Jesse. Jesse’s earlier actions, especially as a teenage girl, was completely understandable.
7. The mysterious waitress returned this week and gave Caitlin a funny look. Any idea what her motives are and what she’s doing in Central City?
Tatiana: I still think she’s Dawn Allen, and that her cold (haha) attitude towards Caitlin suggests that Frost goes full Killer in the future. She specifically mentioned “meeting some people for the first time” with Caitlin and Harry, whereas she made sure Barry, Cisco and Ralph thought she was a stranger. Her interactions here felt like the opposite of the previous ones. Not sure about Harry, but it felt like her focus was Frost this season. As for her motives, she’s got to be waiting for some event that requires her intervention.
Cami: That ending look that mystery girl gave was rather odd. Does she dislike Caitlin for some reason? Does this mean that there is still a battle for good and evil within Cait’s psyche? Cait is now remembering some Killer Frost stuff. What it means going forward,I have no idea. The writers have royally messed up the Killer Frost storyline by changing their minds so often. As for mystery girl, I’m sticking with her being Dawn Allen until proven otherwise.
Alexis: I’ll refer to mystery girl as Dawn Allen until further notice. I think part of her mission is to meet all the members of team Flash that she has read about in the future. This episode was her turn to meet Harry and Caitlin and from the looks of it, she wasn’t a fan of them or more specifically Killer Frost. This leads me to believe that Killer Frost could go full-on villain or is perhaps working with Devoe. It’d be cool if Killer Frost found a new motivation to finally live up to the “killer” part of her name. Iris is the only one that Dawn has yet to meet and I don’t believe that’s a coincidence at all. I’m actually looking forward to their meeting and wondering if it’ll happen as early as the “Run Iris Run” episode.
Shaddae: The other times we’ve seen Dawn (because that’s who she is), she was more bubbly, but this time she looked sinister. She looked at Caitlin like she tried to kill her mother which technically….*gets struck by lightning*
Tay: Yes! Since I think that the mysterious waitress is Dawn Allen, I believe that her loyalty resides with her parents, Barry and Iris. My personal theory is that Caitlin will eventually betray the team again as Killer Frost, thus making Dawn Allen have dramatic animosity towards her.
Final Verdict: This episode of The Flash was its strongest yet, as it did a great job balancing conflict and heart.
As mentioned earlier, Iris provided the solution when she recalled a device that Cisco and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) created in “Flashpoint” that tricked the Speed Force into thinking Barry was still there. Tons of energy was needed to disable the bomb, so Barry sped his way into the Speed Force with the device and ended up neutralizing the bomb. Central City was saved, at least for now.
Now onto the many heart-filled moments of the episode! We finally got an insight as to why Harry is the grumpy man who uses only one facial expression. Harry and Jesse were able to resolve their problems when the source of it was Harry’s inability to deal with his wife’s death. Well-acted and well-done by Violett Beane and Tom Cavanagh!
As mentioned earlier, Barry sped to S.T.A.R Labs to say goodbye to his beloved wife before their impending doom. Grant Gustin himself took to Instagram to announce that he was nervous about filming this particular scene with Patton for six days and we completely understood why. Barry was vulnerable in a way that he’s never been with Iris before. The audience was able to see why Barry was so helpless, considering he is usually able to save the day. There was so much heart, raw emotion (and sweat) and the scene solidified how healthy Barry and Iris’s relationship is. More so than any other scene they have done, it really showed off Gustin and Patton’s range while putting their chemistry on full display.
RELATED | The Flash 4×13 Roundtable “True Colors”
Killer Frost also made an appearance this episode, and although her powers made the bomb worse, she begged Barry to not “let Caity die.” We learned that Killer Frost is starting to warm up to her not-so-evil self, and Caitlin was able to remember every action committed by Killer Frost for the first time this season. Caitlin divulged this information at Jitters with Harry, then suddenly the mysterious waitress appeared! She “accidentally” spills her Killer Frost drink onto them, and gushed about her nerves because of her meeting with people for the first time. Caitlin wished her good luck, and said she “hopes it goes well.” In a whisper to herself, the waitress responded “it just did,” and gave Caitlin a funny look. We’re still betting she’s Dawn Allen, Barry and Iris’s speedster daughter from the future!
While the episode took a step back from the Devoes, we learned that his plan has been in development for three years now!
This episode proved that The Flash can be at its best, as it felt like a true comic book episode. The “metahuman of the week” scenario has always been one that the show leaned on, but the conflict this episode didn’t reside around a superpowered character, but rather a superpowered object. There was an excellent balance between problem-solving, heart and even humor.
Next week, Iris West-Allen suits up for the first time as a metahuman swaps Barry and Iris’ DNA! The role reversal between the two will be too good, and we can’t wait to stick around to watch it!